REPORT U23: MIDDLESBROUGH 0 – 3 BURNLEY
Michael Jackson’s U23 side took all three points from their last league game in 2021 as they won 3-0 at Middlesbrough.
A brace from Dara Costelloe and a penalty goal via Anthony Glennon saw Burnley climb to sixth place in the Premier League 2, Division 2 table ahead of the new year.
On a bitterly cold afternoon, the Clarets started faster on both sides and believed they had the lead in the opening five minutes.
Anthony Gomez-Mancini and Costelloe chased down Boro goalkeeper Nathan Fisher, the latter tapping into an empty net, but the goal was ruled out for offside by officials. Costelloe was not to be refused for long, however, and a few minutes later he put his team ahead.
After Sean Etaluku – making his U23 debut – hit the crossbar with a deep floating cross, the Clarets kept the ball alive and ultimately Costelloe crushed Fisher from inside the six-yard box. .
A constant threat early on, the Irishman delivered another good save for Fisher moments later before snatching his second of the game 17 minutes later. This time, Costelloe finished a ruthless counterattack with a clinical strike to the back of the net. having beaten her man inside the guest lodge.
At two goals, Boro – led by Mark Tinkler after Graeme Lee’s recent departure – enjoyed an ascending spell, but when called up Burnley goalkeeper Sam Waller was there to push them back.
Waller pushed back on Pharrell Willis’ efforts twice before the break to make sure his team was doing okay.
After the restart, Waller then made a superb save to deny Middlesbrough’s Cain Sykes. The hosts floated the ball into a corner and Sykes climbed the highest, meeting the ball to head powerfully to goal, but Waller adjusted his body to come down well and apparently get it out of his line.
After surviving the scare, Burnley then made sure to leave Heritage Park with all three points by scoring a third goal. Gomez-Mancini was grouped in the box and defender Glennon converted from 12 meters.
Opportunities were given to Under-18s Jacson Coppack and Will Hugill in the playoffs, and Burnley held on to secure the clean sheet as well as the win.
Speaking after the game, boss Jackson was pleased with Sunday’s positive performance.
He said: âIt was a very good afternoon for us, especially with what has happened the last few days and the reduced numbers, it was a great performance.
âI think the team did really well and the result was well deserved. The last two games we ended up with 10 men and I think if that hadn’t happened then we would have gone on and won those two games as well.
âI see a lot of improvements, the players are starting to grow and today the performance was good. The main thing is player development, but winning was also a good thing.
Jackson also referred to the inclusion of the three U18 players in the squad of the day, reaffirming the path within the club’s academy system.
He said: “They are not just there to keep me and Faz [Andy Farrell, U23s assistant] company, they are there to play. We trust them to do it, and the idea is to prepare them to take the plunge.
âIt was a good performance from them, they worked really hard when they were on the pitch, and they also did really well in training which is good to see. I was happy to be able to give them playing time.
Burnley: Waller, Vaughan, Rooney, Glennon, Armstrong, Etaluku (Hugill 86 ‘), Helm (C), Woods, Dodgson, Gomez-Mancini (Coppack 67’), Costelloe
Middlesbrough: Fisher, Dodds (Gitau 76 ‘), Kokolo, Sykes, Lindo, Marshall, Stott, Malley (C), Kavanagh, Willis, Sivi (Finch 65’)
Submarines: Wells, Bridge, Simpson